The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program - a pioneering collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand from July 5th, 2012, through July 22nd, 2012, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand.

Dr. Christine Reiser-Robbins, Anthropology Program, Texas A&M-Kingsville, is directing a Service Learning Project, a special component of the PSP. The PSP will facilitate interaction between middle and high school students from Bishop School District, Texas, and Logan Park High School, Dunedin, Otago, through the application of Internet-enabled technologies.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Migration to New Zealand

Kia Ora! U of Otago Scholar, Dr. Michelle Schaaf, spoke to us on Wednesday, July 11th about  migration of Pacific peoples to New Zealand. Her presentation focused on the harsh conditions many endured as they left their native islands and were drawn into a life on indentured servitude. In many ways, this influenced New Zealand's culture as well as its politics.  Her research also highlighted the challenges faced by many of these groups with respect to civil liberties and economic opportunities. This parallels the experiences of immigrants in the United States.  Dr. Schaaf concluded her lecture by stressing the continued significance of migration to the country today; contemporary migrants include Asians and Pacific Islanders.  The lecture helped us understand how New Zealand is uniquely evolving by becoming more oriented towards Asian countries, countering the country's traditional Euro-centric view.  Her presentation was both informative and very intellectually stimulating--definitely a memorable lesson!

-- Matthew R.

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